Archive | July, 2011

“you know what, michelle. you only turn 60 once.”

29 Jul

Yes, dad. You do only turn 60 once – and I hope you had a great time doing it!

My dad had his birthday birthday last weekend and we celebrated, like always at the racetrack followed by a big party at our house. The party was a little different this year with an Old Style keg, koozie party favors and a bit more people than usual. But there was thing that didn’t change – a giant cake.

We were keeping the extent of the party a secret, but since I’m nuts and always make a big cake for his birthday, I lucked out and didn’t have to secretly bake 6 layers – 4 banana cakes, 1 brownie layer and 1 Hershey’s chocolate cake.

All of the cakes were great – the banana layers were fresh, even though they were baked days in advance, and I was amazed by the Hershey cake – it started as a liquid!

I filled them all with fluffy pudding cool whip frosting and used edible arrangement sticks to make sure my tower didn’t fall down (something I’ve done wrong before…)

Then I frosted the giant tower with my favorite frosting, dyed blue, of course and set it up in the fridge. I didn’t decorate it til the morning of the party so that my dad didn’t know what it was, it turned out great and delicious.

 

HAPPY 60TH DAD – HOPE IT WAS ONE TO REMEMBER!!

my dollar signs have two lines

28 Jul

My littlest nephew, Harrison turned 1 and celebrated with a shipwrecked themed, pirate birthday! I offered to make sugar cookies for the party because I know how much my brother loves them. These cookies have always been a favorite of our family, ever since my mom found the recipe in a magazine over 20 years ago. The cookies are great for many different kinds of shapes and were a staple at our birthday parties growing up.

I was going to make skull and crossbones or pirate hat cookies, but then I realized I didn’t have a lot of time, so I had the brilliant idea to make gold coins – circles are really easy to cookie cut! I popped these guys out super fast and went on to decorate them with yellow-gold icing, which you can watch here:

As I said in the video – I had to decorate my dollar signs with two lines!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRISON!!!

So yummy, so pretty, so forgot to bring to the party

27 Jul

July has been a sweet month, full of fun and festive desserts for me, it all started with these fantastical, yes, fantastical, brownies.

As you know, I make brownies from a box, and these were no different – except I had a super fun idea to make them patriotic. It worked well and I will definitely repeat this tactic in the future. When the brownies had 10 minutes left, I spread large marshmallows, that I had cut in half (the hamburger-fold way) around the baking dish. I then sprinkled about half of my sprinkles on the marshmallows.

I let them cook the rest of the time and when I took the brownies out of the oven, I put the rest of my sprinkles on, since the marshmallows had spread, there were some empty spots at this point. Then I let them cool and cut them – amazingly moist and gooey. Probably the best brownie addition I’ve ever made. I packed them up to bring to the 4th of July party I was on my way to… and I left them on my kitchen table.

Well, my dad enjoyed them, so that’s good.

Light & Fluffy christening

4 Jul

My newest niece was christened last week and I wanted to do something different from the traditional sheet cake for her dessert, so I decided on a cross cake and mini cupcakes, though then I realized how tiny they were and also added regular sized ones.

I haven’t baked cupcakes in a while and was craving graham cracker batter, my favorite, and whipped some up for the cakes. For the frosting, my first thought was something marshmallowy, but then I realized that my work weekend wasn’t going to give me a lot of free time, so I remembered the quickest frosting ever – cool whip pudding frosting.

This frosting takes about 5 minutes, is amazingly fluffy and actually kind of healthy. I used fat-free cool whip and sugar-free pudding, and really all that is added is the small amount of powdered sugar. You can even eat this as a dessert on its own, or put it as a topper for brownies or maybe a sugar cookie with fruit, like a little dessert pizza.

I used vanilla pudding for the cross and the mini cupcakes and chocolate for the bigger ones, both complemented the graham cake very well, and the mini cupcakes were a great choice for my 4-year old niece and her little buddies.

Congratulations, Ava!!

Cool off with Cool Whip

2 Jul

My favorite things about summer desserts is being inventive. Sometimes I think the warm weather brings out twists you wouldn’t always think to do in the winter.

My mom held her monthly quilting group lunch here last week and handed me a weight watchers recipe to make, this little recipe was so smart and not even really “diet.” The basis was cool whip, cocoa powder, crushed chocolate wafer cookies and milk and I will say mini frozen cool whips are yummy! I will be re-enacting these little guys sometime soon for sure.

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